eUCP and eURC

The world standards for paper to electronic records

eUCP &eURC. On 1 July 2019, the long-awaited revised eRules and guidelines for online trade finance finally arrived for banks, importers, exporters, freight forwarders, chambers of commerce, customs brokers, logistics companies and carriers, to prepare and present electronic records for documentary letters of credit in lieu of or in conjunction with paper documents.

E-UCP (credits)

E-URC (collections)

ITF Ref 9 - ICC eUCP version 2-0

eUCP Version 2.0 for CREDITS. The International Chamber of Commerce Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits (UCP 600) Supplement for Electronic Presentation (eUCP v2.0), in effect 1 July 2019.

eUCP v2.0 highlights:

  1. The eUCPv2.0 supplements ICC Publication UCP 600 in order to accommodate (digital) presentation . . .

  2. The eUCP shall apply where the credit indicates that it is subject to the eUCP (“eUCP credit”).

  3. Document shall include an electronic record.

  4. Place for presentation . . . means an electronic address . . .

  5. Sign and the like shall include an electronic signature.

  6. May be presented in any format, unless specified by the credit instrument.

  7. A presentation requires a Notice of Completeness (new document).

  8. Any requirement for presentation of one or more originals or copies of an electronic record is satisfied by the presentation of one electronic record.

Bank guidelines for issuing eUCP credits.

Documentary letters of credit are already issued electronically as SWIFT MT700 messages. It is the presentation of the required documents that the eUCP Articles provide guidelines for.

The eUCP shall apply where the credit indicates that it is subject to the eUCP latest version. The credit must indicate a place for the presentation of electronic records (email address and/or URL). In addition, it must also indicate the physical location of the issuing bank, and the confirming bank, if any.

ITF Ref 13 - ICC eURC version 1.0

eURC Version 1.0 for COLLECTIONS. The International Chamber of Commerce Uniform Rules for Collections (URC 522) Supplement for Electronic Presentation (eURC v1.0). in effect 1 July 2019.

eURC v1.0 highlights:

  1. The eURC supplements ICC Publication URC 522 in order to accommodate presentation of electronic records alone or in combination with paper documents.

  2. The eURC shall apply where the collection instruction indicates that it is subject to the eURC collection.

  3. Document shall include an electronic record.

  4. Place for presentation means an electronic address.

  5. Sign and the like shall include an electronic signature.

  6. May be presented in any format, unless specified by the collection instruction.

Remitting bank guidelines for issuing eURC collection instructions.

The eURC shall apply where the collection instruction indicates that it is subject to the eURC latest version. The collection instruction must indicate a place for the presentation of electronic records (email address and/or URL).

An eURC collection is also subject to URC 522 without express incorporation. However, the collection document requirements need to be taken into consideration in light of the supplement's additional guidelines.

An eURC collection instruction must indicate the applicable version of the eURC. It must also indicate the electronic address for presentation to the collecting or presenting bank. It must also indicate the format for accepting electronic records, such as PDF and version number.

ICC eUCP eURC Commentary

Commentary on eUCP v2.0 and eURC v1.0, Article by Article Analysis by David Meynell

With the availability of the eUCP on 1 April 2002, the evolution of the commercial letter of credit into a fully electronic payment system has begun. While systems and processes need to be developed and refined to take full advantage of the presentation of electronic records under letters of credit, it is only a matter of time until the vast majority of presentations will be made electronically.

6 April 2020:

The ICC has issued emergency guidance to immediately implement eUCP 600 (for letters of credit), and eURC 522 (for collections) for electronic trade documentation for all credits and collections worldwide. This needs to be done NOW because the COVID-19 pandemic is hindering the movement of courier paper for payment.

ICC Guidance eUCP & eURC Implem 18 Apr 2020.pdf

ICC Guidance paper on the impact of Covid-19 on trade finance transactions issued subject to ICC rules

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5.0 POSSIBLE ALTERNATE SOLUTIONS THAT INVOLVE THE USE of ‘Electronic documents, scanned, faxed or emailed images’

(iv) As a separate and ongoing exercise, ICC will continue to promote the broader use of ICC eRules i.e., eUCP Version 2.0 & eURC Version 1.0, URBPO, and the UNCITRAL Model Laws on Electronic Commerce, Electronic Transferable Records, and Electronic Signatures. Practitioners should strongly consider implementing the ICC eRules in their future transactions.

(v) For existing credits subject to UCP 600, if all parties intend to change from paper documents to electronic records, they may do so by agreeing an amendment of the credit from UCP 600 to eUCP Version 2.0. Scanned documents will fall within the definition of an ‘electronic record’ in eUCP Version 2.0, but would need to meet the requirements for authentication as mentioned in eUCP sub-article e6. Similarly, electronic records could be agreed for use with eURC Version 1.0 for documentary collections, but would need to meet the requirements for authentication as mentioned in eURC sub-article e7.

(vi) A digital record is one that exists in digitized form only, whereas an electronic record may also encompass a copy of an original document that is stored in electronic form e.g. a scanned copy. It should be noted that some documents may only be effective in paper form, or may require prearrangement by all parties in order to be digitized.

ICC Memo to Governments 18 Apr 2020.pdf

URGENT 6 April 2020

ICC MEMO TO GOVERNMENTS AND CENTRAL BANKS ON ESSENTIAL STEPS TO SAFEGUARD TRADE FINANCE OPERATIONS

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3. EMERGENCY INTERVENTIONS FROM GOVERNMENTS NEEDED TO REMOVE RELIANCE ON PAPER-BASED TRADE DOCUMENTATION

3.1. In this context, it is imperative that all governments take immediate steps to enable banks to process trade finance transactions utilizing electronic trade documents— removing the need for any documentation to be presented in hard-copy.

3.2. On this basis, ICC calls on all governments to take the following actions without delay: — As a temporary measure, void any legal requirements for trade documentation to be in hard copy.

The specifics of voiding legislative requirements will depend on the constitutional arrangements of each country. Nevertheless, ICC calls on all countries to take all necessary legislative or executive actions, according to national circumstances, to remove requirements for key trade documents (e.g. bills of lading, bills of exchange, promissory notes, commercial invoices) to be presented in paper format. We note that some governments have already taken steps of this nature in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and encourage all governments to follow this lead without delay.